Welcome back to school in Bulgaria
Learning together across borders
The education system in Ukraine is collapsing and this is threatening the future of 5.7 million school-age children. The war came after close to two years of forced remote learning due to COVID-19 during which the children were already out of their classrooms, separated and isolated from their friends and teachers, which hindered their learning and development.
Children have the right to education
Schools provide a crucial sense of security and consistency for the children and missing out on school can have lifelong adverse consequences. The sooner Ukrainian children can begin learning, developing and interacting with classmates and teachers in a school environment, the faster they will catch up and recover. Especially the most vulnerable children among them such as the children who are unaccompanied and separated from their families and the children with disabilities.
The children who remain in Ukraine and the estimated 2.2 million children who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries need every opportunity to continue their education and development in a variety of ways – formal education in schools, day cares and nurseries, non-formal learning opportunities and through remote learning. They also need mental health support to help them recover, as well as language courses to catch up on missed learning and integrate into the national education systems of the receiving countries.
In Ukraine, UNICEF is providing educational materials, supporting the teachers and engaging the children in face-to-face and online learning. In refugee-hosting countries, UNICEF is providing support to the host governments and municipalities to enrol the children in the national school systems, supporting the teachers and staff with professional development in mental health and psychosocial support, play-based learning approaches and multicultural competencies to make the learning environments inclusive, safe and welcoming for all.
With UNICEF’s help, 223,871 school-aged children have gained access to formal education in refugee-hosting countries,
while 21,788 children have received support through non-formal learning activities.
Over 139,417 children, including those in vulnerable host communities, have currently been referred to summer interventions, catch-up programs and play-based learning courses, and 2,874 teachers have been trained to provide opportunities for quality education.
Education and learning are vital
School is a safe place. It brings a sense of security, normality and consistency in children’s lives. It helps them socialise in local communities and make friends.
We urge all parents to enrol their children in school because children need education. Because it will provide them with the stability they need. All children’s rights, including access to health care, protection, education and other services, must be guaranteed. That is why it is very important to show solidarity. Every child needs our care and acceptance, but above all, they need peace.